For anyone who might have missed it – perhaps you’ve been living on another planet – there’s a bit of a phone craze in Ballarat at the moment.
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Thousands of people wandering the streets of the city collecting virtual creatures by swiping a virtual ball at them, capturing and training them ... virtually. At least that’s this layman’s interpretation.
Brayden Dorner is the founder of the Pokemon Go Yellow Team Ballarat Facebook page. He was able to explain a bit more about the phenomenon.
“There are three teams: yellow, red and blue. Once you reach level five of the game you are faced with the decision of selecting one of these three teams,” says Brayden.
“The teams then need to work together worldwide taking control of Pokemon gyms and defending them as a team until another team manages to take control. These gyms are usually landmarks. They can be anything from cafes to historical statues. When you click on the landmark you get a little history about it, so you learn something too.”
“In our Ballarat group we have 300 confirmed members. We’ve all met each other through social media since the game started. We coincidentally all chose Team Yellow.”
The Team Yellow group organised a meeting for its members on Sunday, gathering about 40 people at the Camp Street stairs – a well-known Pokemon Go hot-spot.
“We had people wearing team colours, and most people even brought snacks and drinks to share with their newly acquired friends. We even had people go to the effort of making yellow Pokemon-themed cupcakes to share,” says Brayden.
He says that cities and towns have their own closed team Facebook pages where they discuss anything, from where to find the best Pokemon to what gyms are controlled. While there’s a lot of good-natured ribbing about the popularity of the game, he says there’s a real benefit in groups of people coming together in a mutual cause, even if it’s just for fun.
“After the event a lot of the people commented on the page that it was the first time they’d been in a social setting for years.They’d been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, social phobias, but they felt quite confident in this group to come along and battle their issues.
“Towards the end of the event we had plenty of food and drink left over and we noticed two homeless men sleeping on the ground in Camp Street. The team gave our food and drink to them and we felt humbled when the men were very thankful. I think people uniting from all backgrounds and ages and interests is really fantastic.”
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